Now that the transfer is finished and the HP site has been evaluated by both the new Google Panda and Penguin algorithms, the effects of the transferred content to HP can be dissected.
1. In the week before the August 15th announcement, HP had 335,638 featured Hubs averaging 4 unique views per Hub per day. Sqidoo had 175,000 articles available to search engines and averaged 2.14 unique views per page per day. Taken together, the 510,638 articles averaged 3.37 unique views per page, while the content was on two different websites.
2. Today, HubPages has 452,765 featured Hubs which received an average of 2.6 unique views per Hub per day over the past week.
3. The transfer from Squidoo increased the number of Hubs by 34.9%. Unique views per Hub per day have decreased by 23.7%.
4. In the week before August 15, traffic to Squidoo averaged 375,254 uniques per day and traffic to HP averaged 1,344,731 uniques per day. In the past week, traffic on HP has averaged 1,163,635 uniques per day – a decrease of more than 32% when the articles were on two different websites.
5. The combined traffic to HP and Squidoo in the week before August 15 was 1,719,985 unique views per day. The average traffic to HP during the past week was 1,163,635 uniques per day.
6. The seasonal increase of traffic from late August to the third week in October, 2013, was 57%. In 2014, there was no seasonal increase in traffic to HP.
7. The most noticeable decrease in HP traffic is from unique views from mobile: down more than 21% from the week before August 15.
That makes for some fascinating reading - thanks for the research done. I feel grateful for the fact that I appear to have far more than the average number of visitors to my Hubs. I have also noticed an increased number of views for items which are seasonal or maybe it is because the days are getting shorter and more people are spending more time inside.
Interesting report. One thing I have noticed the past several mornings; it is taking a very long time to load my articles here. I usually load them up and tweet them a few times a week. This week, it is taking a very long time to load the articles.
Has anyone else noticed this. I believe that Google takes this into account. Loading other websites is not slow, so it isn't my connection.
Page load speed is extremely slow and, yes, that hurts the site. I looked at several Hubs yesterday where pictures were not loading and I had to refresh the page a couple of times before the photos would load.
HP has changed servers twice since August 15th. I have no idea what the sever problems are and why traffic from mobile has drastically decreased.
Writer Fox I checked page load in Webmaster Tools and believe page load could be an issue. I loaded a hub with a large photo at top, and then had it analyzed on mobile page load. The analysis indicated that the page would load faster with a picture fix and cascade style fix. Also, an IT person told me that server moves can result in problems. One problem, he said, can be with bad links showing up. My bad backlinks all showed up in October. Writer Fox, thanks for doing this research. Do you think we can ask staff about page load time or questions about backlinks. You are smart, and maybe you have some answers.
Brake: It's interesting that you checked this out because I brought the issue of page load up awhile back when we were advised to post full width photos and everybody said "oh, page load won't be an issue with this". I don't believe it now, and I never did. I think big photos create major page load issues.
I checked another hub on page load in GWT and had the same result with issues above the fold, some of which are beyond my control in regard to page loading.. I plan to revise a hub's layout and then check it again. You may be right, Time Traveler.
My traffic has reduced by around 70% and its not picking up again as it had been the case with previous panda updates.
I am more and more thinking that my sharp drop in traffic starting in late September had a lot to do with the acquisition of Squidoo; Panda did hit, but it hit, as you say, when we acquired Lenses which increased the chances of duplicate subject/keyword articles, which Panda will hit. Also the acquisition brought along with it some bad content. A lot of people are saying that we already had bad content; yes, but the acquisition brought even more of it.
One thing is certain: The timing was bad, bad, bad.
WF: While these figures are shocking, they seem to be based on short term results. I think it will take at least 6 months before we all know what is happening.
To say that the timing for all of this has been horrible would be an understatement. Nobody asked for a two big sites to merge, a Panda and Penguin and a new server all to hit at about the same time. I think when Google sees massive changes like this, it shocks their system and gives them pause about doing anything positive to help this site or any other that might be facing the same challenges.
As I see it, the ONLY way out of this is for HP to get rid of the substandard articles asap and make vetting to write here much more difficult than it is. Clearly the QAP is not working and never really has worked as it should. This would be a massive undertaking and would require the team to employ more people and also pay attention when credible authors here flag hubs.
I know they do not because in the past whenever I saw a bad one and flagged it, they did nothing about it!
The bottom line is that we can make statistics look like whatever we want them to look like, so we need to judge them carefully. There are manly variables that feed into the things that create success, such as timing, the economy, the seasons, competition, Google. plagiarism and others that there is no way to pinpoint why situations run amock.
What we do know is that too many of us have misused advertisements, written on taboo subjects, incorrectly accredited photos, have ignored the importance of proofreading and using poor spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and general grammar, productive types of layout and other important issues.
I have said for some time that if we do not police ourselves, we will all lose this site. That would be a very sad day.
I urge all writers here to go back and get rid of your duplicated content, adjust your keywords and do whatever else you must if you want HP to become credible.
I am doing this now, myself, and it is a monumental task, but it is the only way back for us. If we think everybody else will do it but we do not have to do so ourselves, we are sorely mistaken. Those who sit back should have their posts unfeatured and removed.
When I was teaching school, students could never understand why simply doing their work was not enough. I told them they had to do it well, if they wanted to get better grades. This simple concept could make all the difference here, as it did for them once they "got it".
Thank you Writer Fox for taking the time to research and inform us. I feel better knowing what is going on with our site.
Have a wonderful day.
Writer Fox, I don't understand the complete lack of seasonal increase compared to the same period last year.
Why should this be? How exactly does it relate to the merger?
It means that traffic is lower at HubPages since the import of the new content from Squidoo. Traffic should be much higher the third week in October than it was for the second week in August. The bottom-line is that acquiring the content from Squidoo was detrimental to HP and that the content received more traffic when it appeared on two websites instead of one.
Since the merger was first announced, I have been wondering why Squidoo was not kept as a separate site with the credits showing as "A HubPages Owned Site". It seems to me it would have been better for all concerned.
Some searchers/readers preferred Squidoo, some preferred HubPages, and some liked both. By putting the two together, it narrowed searches down. Now the one site is too big for unique searches and views.
That would have been best for those of us at HP, but the Squidoo site was under a penalty, and they were not going to get out from under it any time soon. Moving them here was a chance to get their articles out of the penalty box and hopefully making money for HP.
What remains to be seen is who is left standing on the HP site in 4-6 months. The most successful writers from either platform have the best chance at creating their own successful sites. Those who can't get views here, with all of HPs related articles to lure readers into stumbling across their article, have little hope of attracting an audience without learning some major SEO tricks.
Good question, I wondered that too. Maybe they thought it was better to eliminate competition between the two sites by merging them rather than having Squidoo up and running alongside HP. But then you get more intra-site competition among articles that are similar on both platforms, so that doesn't really explain it.
Or maybe they just didn't want the extra work of maintaining two separate entities that basically provide the same thing. Economies of scale -- it's easier and cheaper to manage one big thing than two smaller things at once.
I would have merged the sites slowly, migrating few accounts at a time, and see the results. Now there is no way to know what would have happened. There is no term for comparison, and nobody knows what is the reason for the traffic drop.
It is unfortunate that the migration happened at the same time with major Google algorithms upgrade on both the anti-spam, and the ranking engines. Nobody knew this was going to happen during the migration.
However, I am IT, and my IT formation dictates me to do as many tests as possible before anything is irreversible. On the other hand, HP had to decide if paying the Squidoo team to maintain the website for a longer migration was efficient.
I lost two thirds of my traffic, and I still can't get over it, but I can't blame it on HP. They did their best.
I wonder if HP consider implementing the Squidoo model "the best of". Google loves manually curated content, and "the best of" was a big success for my lenses, increasing the traffic consistently. "A good neighborhood", and content on the same theme might be the answer.
Interesting to read these stats.
Thanks for keeping us up on them, WF.
It would be nice if one could blame this drop in traffic on the arrival of Squidoo articles but it is important whenever you pose a scenario that you show all factors that might be influencing ie: traffic for that period.
Considering that there have been two major updates to Google that just happened to coincide with the influx of Squidoo articles those are a pretty major factor that also has to be taken into account. Google has been coming down hard on publishing platforms and it continues to do so.
This is not the first time that Hubpages has received a major traffic hit from Google shortly after a Panda update came out.
I am one of the recent Squidoo transfers in. I was receiving many more views just prior the transfer from Squidoo than what I am seeing here since my arrival. Should I blame Hubpages?
Panda 4.1 began rolling out during the week of September 21, before all of the Squidoo traffic was transferred. It affected 3 – 5% of search queries, depending upon locale. Combining the articles from two websites increased "duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations", which Panda targets. Articles on Squidoo and on HubPages both had higher traffic when they were posted on two websites instead of combined on one website.
I don't find that traffic to HP overall was affected much by the Penguin Update. If you have statistics to contribute, please post them here.
The key points I take from this are more articles, less traffic and no seasonal increase.
Server and taking a large amount of non QAPped new content are entirely HubPages responsibility. That is not a hands up in the air - "Oh we didn't expect it" excuse.
Panda and / or Penguin will carry on screwing the site for whatever reason they choose.
The ONLY way out of this is to do the obvious - fix the frigging servers for Crissake - and to take a hatchet to 50% of the hosted content be it Squidoo, HubPages or wherever.
imo of course.
Like Lorelei said, there are more factors to consider if you want to give the full picture.
It's just too easy to blame the former Squids. We haven't asked for this transfer. I must say up till last year I was quite happy at Squidoo before they turned it into a sales site.
Don't make it sound as if HP is all roses and no thornes and SQ was all sh?t. I stumbled upon enough pure sales hubs here too.
I am not exactly sure what stats you want me to locate. Should I ask Google for a direct report as to traffic affected by their latest updates?
Concerning my accounts ( I have 3 here) all are showing a huge drop in traffic since my arrival. My main account pre the first Panda saw weekly traffic of 20,000 to 30,000 weekly visits. Just prior our arrival to Hubpages it was seeing 7,000 to 11,000 weekly. Today on Hubpages the stats say 3300 visits. A very dramatic drop.
I blame this on Panda once again hitting publishing platforms and not on my arrival into Hubpages and those articles affecting my traffic stats. Squidoo is now closed so I can no longer see other stats there.
* Wise advice Mark
There is a secret Quota for Hubpages traffic. And you can't get over that. Panda and Penguin are both site and subdomain penalties that reduce the traffic from what it would otherwise be. Add more pages, the traffic remains the same. Quantcast data clearly shows this. Google simply has a feed back mechanism that adjusts the rankings based on the assigned traffic (this is what Panda and Penguin does to the traffic). Pure and Simple. Keen as Mustard.
Just curious to know where all these stats are coming from? Could you cite your sources, Writer Fox? (This is not a challenge, just a genuine enquiry from someone who doesn't know).
All traffic stats are from measured traffic according to Quantcast.com.
Interesting. Each of my lenses had an average of 15.56 views per day prior to the transfer. Now, I have an average of 14.06 views per day. I don't blame Hubpages. Que sera, sera.
The two beneficiaries of the Squidoo article transfers were always going to be Squidoo authors (short term - better than nothing) and 'Hubpages the Business' (long term after negatives cleaned up).
The individual original Hubpage authors were always destined to be losers because of the increased competition from similar articles on the same topic (Google only displays one result from a domain in the first page of the SERPS: plus simple competition for the rank).
The fact that the traffic has remained the same despite the addition of thousands of pages (an effective Quota) makes the competition even worse. The only hope is to target narrow topics and longtail keywords that you know have a reasonable chance of being competitive, which has always been the case. Or to write for a hobby.
Hopefully, Google may eventually be convinced to allow a quota increase for Hubpages, but this may take many months.
Hubpages has, so far, been very successful in sustaining overall traffic over the last 12 months, by improving average quality, etc. which is a wonderful achievement that should be acknowledged.
Individual authors can only hope to sustain their traffic (and income) by writing more, and more, quality articles on competitive topics to offset losses via natural aging, the competition from copies, new original articles on the same topic, and the ongoing overall decline in rank for subdomains and pages caused by the Quota system. IMO
But is it worth it? A few years back HubPages and the other sites had extra ranking - the small sites could not get a look in. Now it seems the reverse may be true. Is there really any point in constantly trying to improve and create against the tide?
The alternative is your own sites etc. As you, I and many others have pointed out, HP may deliver better traffic and earnings than your own sites in the short term. HP has the advantage of the community and internal traffic. Getting comments and feedback is nice. Your own blog can be a lonely place. Pinterest generates a lot of traffic for me. Internal links within HP can help, especially when you have a lot of articles.
It is worth it? It depends on why you write and publish. It is impossible to please or manipulate Google and influence the traffic outcome. Trying to manipulate things does not work, apart from choosing competitive topics and keyword phrases. Providing helpful and entertaining content that pleases readers and is respected by them is a worthwhile objective. I personally don't bother myself with copies, changing links etc. for older articles, acting like some mother hen protecting her chicks. Some articles do well, others not. It is impossible to predict the outcome. All articles age and get swamped by the competition eventually. What you write about, may have different aims, objectives and purposes for various articles. Writing is an interest, keeps the mind active, and is therapeutic for the author, especially if there is an audience with which to share.
On And On And On - Keep on writing baby, 'til the night is gone.
Eventually Google Graph and its Knowledge Base will be the fountain of all knowledge and there will be no SERPS with links to sites and webpages. Google is stealing the info from the WWW and stuffing it into their database. So make hay while the sun shines! Compost is good for the soil and soul.
What is the purpose of all this? Your facts and figures are not going to make HP kick all the Squidoo lenses and people off the site. Are you trying to make the Squidoo people feel guilty for damaging your Hub Pages?
You should remember that we did not ask for this. Squidoo sold us out, what did you expect the writers there to do? Why are you making this even more difficult by promoting ill feelings between the original HP writers and the imports from Squidoo? Do you think this is helping?
I am pretty well convinced that Janderson is correct, and there is a quota in effect on HP. What ever happens, HP traffic returns to the same level. I am not sure how this is in the end users best interest.
There is no denying that if HP had 5 articles on a topic and 4 more transferred in on the same topic, some will be squeezed out into oblivion. Only the best article will survive in Google SERPs.
I suspect that Google hates HP, and delights in screwing with it and its writers. I am convinced they want to push writers to their own smaller niche websites, which Google has generously just given a boost with their latest Algorithm update (or so they say). There we can bask in greater pageviews, and rely on the niggardly income from ADSense. But don't put too many or even any affiliate ads on there, since Google prefers to send readers to sites where there is no competition for clicks on their ads.
Google is in the business of selling advertising. They are using their search engine to direct customers to sites with lots and lots of Google ads and away from competitive ad programs.
I don't really believe that some searchers/readers prefer one or the other. If someone is searching and it answers the info they are looking for they are happy.
This is a very sad statement, I never thought I would read anything like this.
I never sit in judgement on any website
My traffic hasn't been affected by Google a lot, but I have posted links on forums where they fit in well. There are only 2 forums that I do this on, but they get extreme traffic. I know Google doesn't like this, but the Penguin didn't hit me either. We need to quit relying on Google so much. At least that is my opinion. What does everyone else think?
After working on getting traffic from elsewhere Google isn't hurting me so much.
My hubs that were hit, I deserve. I notice that someone from Squidoo did a better job on the same topics I did. These are older hubs that did well in the past. Before I got away with it, but now I am going to need to add more photos and content then I have. I've started doing the work, but I wonder if it is worth it or not. None of us really know what is going to happen in the end.
Barbara: Just a heads up. HP does not allow us to post links to our hubs in the forums.
Okay! I use to do the forum thing several years ago, and stopped because it didn't really accomplish anything and a lot of them I ventured into didn't allow links.
WF, I know you're not blaming Squidoo. You're just reporting statistics.
There are other factors that may be influencing decreased traffic in the past 60 days, such as discussed in http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/125928
What are your thoughts on that?
I posted a few thoughts on that thread. Other people are also reporting improved traffic from removing bad backlinks.
I may have an inkling on the drop in mobile views. I have not had any issues accessing HP from my desktop since the week of the server migration. However today when trying to access HP on my iPhone, I repeatedly got instantaneous messages that Safari could not locate the server. I was doing fine on all the other sites I visited from that location.
Put it in forum under tech problems. My mobile page load time on that test scored 57 out of 100.
Underlying problem is that Squidoo was more products based. The Squidoo rules on numbers of Amazon capsules etc were relaxed and the site wasn't organised on a subdomain basis, so there wasn't a big disincentive to posting lots of product lenses.
When the lenses came over to Hubpages, the site briefly benefited from the influx of extra pages. But then Google detected all the product pages, decided they were over-commercial and pushed HP back down to previous levels.
Ex-Squidoo writers need to drastically reduce the proportion of Amazon capsules and links. Keep the good ones and move or delete the others.
Squidoo didn't start out as product based and many of people who have transferred have sites which are not product oriented. It would be nice if this were recognised!
Squidoo did have a constraint on the number of Amazon capsules
Squidoo also had subdomains - I know because I had one for quite some time. However not everybody earned subdomain status.
From what I can see the issue is not the number of Amazon capsules but rather the ratio of content to capsules.
My personal view is that there is rather a lot of rubbish on the site which could do with being temporarily unpublished/unfeatured or whatever it is that takes it away from Google's view.
I am fully familiar with Squidoo, its rules, structure etc., I had more than one account there for a number of years.
Squidoo is gone now, however, and concern is what can be done to help HubPages. I personally would like to see HP unpublish as many of the hubs with the red skulls beside them as possible.
I had to do this on my former Squidoo account. For instance, I had one article about flax seed and multiple sclerosis. At the end of it, I included an affiliate link to a coffee grinder, to grind flax seed, in addition to other products, such as flax oil and a book. Obviously, the coffee grinder was not not really necessary, so I took it out.
I just read all of the threads on this post and I think the real issue is the demise of Squidoo added to the two Google roll-outs and the server issues here.
Most of what has been said is true so to recover we must all edit our Hubs and remove bad back links change incoming links to HP not Squidoo.
Revise any Hubs that are not ranking well at Google (use Webmaster tools to see which keywords you rank for). Connect your Google Analytics to Webnaster tools!
Ensure we do not have excessive product links and ensure that everything we write is original and informative. If there are a number of Hubs that are similar then delete or re-write to ensure we have the higher ranking. That is what I have been doing since I came here.
What I have seen was a 100%+ increase immediately after the transfer in. This lasted until about 23 September, a drop of around 50% and now a gradual increase back to about twice the traffic I had at Squidoo.
For me the things that I think might have affected traffic are number one the server issues at HP. Next the association with Squidoo. I feel that the links mentioning Squidoo got devalued especially after you edit and go through QAP. The good news is that there is a recovery in traffic about 3 weeks after QAP (at least that was my experience).
Paul Edmonson has said he thinks it will take months for things to settle and I think he is right. This is due to the fact that the transfer was huge and Google does not know what to make of it yet. I do not feel that HP generally has been affected, although it is possible that a Quota is being operated. This has not affected me personally as my Hubs are diverse and many are on topics that others have written little about (e.g. My Hub on Cushings disease and the one on Work Place Bullying).
My personal Hubs have also all done quite well here. There was an income and views drop between September and October, but often I could not log onto HP, especially with my Blackberry Playbook. Incidentally HP does not work properly on their browser and since it is Apple based one can see that could be a general problem for mobiles.
HP technical staff are aware of the issues and have their work cut out. I rather feel that us speculating does not help them in their duties. However this discussion certainly gives room for us to ponder exactly how everything is affecting us individually. Time would be best spent on trying to resolve what is affecting us each at that level.
In my opinion much of the Squidoo lenses were better than stuff on HP, equally much of Hp was better than Squidoo lenses so that being said over time the best articles will rise back. This will take Google a while to sort out and the Quota if it exists will hurt many of us.
I have several websites on my own domains and I will say this. Performance is by far the biggest factor in traffic. If a page takes .5 secs to load it gets no traffic if it takes 0.002 secs to load it gets 80% of the traffic for its keywords. That has always been the largest factor assuming decent SEO. Since SEO did not change for any of the articles the most likely cause of this is the server issues and once these are resolved I think we could see traffic back to the merger days level or even better.
Of course that is assuming that Google gives a bigger Quota based on the combined sites and that Panda and Penquin do not hate HP in general. I have checked my back links and the problem seems to only be affecting HP authors from prior to the merger. (i.e. I do not see any bad backlinks to my stuff that came from Squidoo).
I did however have a huge attack on my Christmas Wreath site and have had to take it down as the cart provider collapsed also due to being hacked and insufficient resources to handle it. Since hacking is rising and a lot of it is porn, terrorism, and or drug related there are a lot of bad resources trying to steal a boost from legitimate sites and I am sure HP will not be immune.
My site that was attacked was using Https and in theory more secure, unfortunately that is what spammers are looking for to give themselves credibility. I am sure this is a factor here too. Both Squidoo and HP have good page rank to pass on via the links. Google and others are trying to cut out the spam and sometimes the backwash will affect legitimate sites.
I feel it is too early to single out the real cause here, but the increase in spam always co-incides with the return of students after the summer vacation. 2014 was a bad year for this too! Lets re-visit this after Christmas and look back only then will we have a clearer picture of what was really happening. I believe the server issues will all be resolved by then and lenses will be fully to HP QAP or unpublished.
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